Wednesday, April 02, 2014

High Island Rookery

Instead of doing my usual report on what Dee and I saw at the Smith Oaks rookery on Sunday, I'm going to upload separate posts of pictures of the two most dramatic species that are currently nesting there: Roseate Spoonbills and Great Egrets. Today's pictures are of Spoonbills, always a big draw for visitors to the rookery.

Many of the Spoonbills were collecting sticks with which to build their nests. These two mates couldn't seem to agree on who should add the next branch to the nest.

With so many birds crammed into a small area, it isn't surprising that tempers get frayed. Two Spoonbills were fencing with their beaks while another watched the action.

Spoonbills are not the most elegant on birds when perched or walking, but they are graceful fliers.

Landing in an area that is absolutely packed with birds is quite a challenge, though, and you have to be ready to slam on the brakes.

Sometimes making a perfect landing isn't enough. You also need to get out the way of the bird that's coming in fast behind you.

Watching the Spoonbills at nest-building time is always entertaining. However, it is even more interesting to watch them later in the season, when they have to make use of those big, ungainly bills to turn their eggs. (The picture below is from April last year.) 


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